Brown's Island
It's so close you could miss it ...

by Tanya Campbell.
Photography by Bill Purdin.

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I walked barefoot down the lane, across the rocks, and onto the white sand. I could taste the salt in my mouth and I felt the coolness of the wind on my skin. My mind swarmed with thoughts of happiness; I was spending two months in Massachusetts with my grandparents. In spite of all the activities there I knew I would spend most of my time on Brown's Island. The tide had made the water disappear behind the little island. Even though it was small it seemed like an entire continent to me, complete with a mini mountain, grassy hills, tumbling rocks, sand, trees, and flowers. Something in my heart urged me to walk across the path towards its magnificence. I slowly proceeded towards the island concentrating on its beauty. To the right and left shallow water barely kept the boats afloat. Wispy white clouds hovered above the island and distant trees swayed with the breeze. Small waves lapped against the rocks as if a cat were drinking the ocean like a bowl of milk. After walking through the mud and scattered tide pools, my feet and legs were filthy, but I didn't care. No beachcombers, drunken teenagers, or annoying children were there. I had the whole island to myself. I walked across the hot sand and onto the grassy hill. I could see for miles and miles around. Sailboats majestically glided through the swelling blue water and lighthearted seagulls danced on the buoys. A huge, out-of-place rock sat in the middle of the hill. I slowly climbed up, my fingers scratching against the granite. A sense of calmness overcame me. Everything seemed far away and about to vanish as if in another world. I slouched down on the rock full of wonder and finally directed my thoughts to the dream I had created in my mind years ago. I had pictured myself buying the whole island and building a big, beautiful house on top of the hill. An art studio would face the outside ocean with tall, wide windows. Inside, the walls, floor, and ceiling would all coordinate with each other in shades of white. Glass bottles, although quite simple, would decorate most of the rooms. The entire place would give the impression of a clean, contemporary house to outsiders.

I awoke from my heavy thinking and headed back to my grandparents' house. I ran down the hill, sloshed through the mud, and stumbled up the rocky path when I saw an old rusted metal sign. I abruptly came to a stop and read it, straining my eyes in the disappearing light. It informed me that a family in the early 1900's owned the entire island and that the government possessed it now. It then gave a description of the many species that lived on the island along with a list of rules. My heart sank as I became filled with humiliation. I felt selfish. This island was not meant for one person to appreciate and enjoy. I remembered all those times when I had observed families spending their day on Brown's Island, adventurous little boys exploring along its rocks, and groups of people barbecuing on its beach. Sometimes people get carried away and become selfish. I realize now that I was being like that. It's nice to have dreams, but not when that dream takes away from other people's happiness. I'll always hold Brown's Island in my heart, but I'd rather share its beauty with everyone than keep it to myself.